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Mary Leshper

Mary Schaper
Posted July 25, 2014

Fracking Workers: It’s Safe, It’s Good


The Southern: In three years of working in the fracking fields of North Dakota, Rick Tippett has witnessed two accidents, he said.

Tippett, 61, of Creal Springs, said he never feels he puts his safety at risk when on a horizontal fracking site. Tippett works six weeks straight and returns to his Southern Illinois home during his 10-day breaks.

Between two weeks of orientation focused solely on safety, provided by a multitude of gas companies and regulators; yearly safety training and company-provided protective gear, Tippett said safety is “the No. 1 priority” on a job site.

Tippett spoke with The Southern Illinoisan after statements from Southern Illinoisans Against Fracturing Our Environment issued Wednesday that fracking is unsafe for workers. The SAFE comments came a day after fracking proponents urged faster movement on drafting rules to regulate horizontal fracking.

Accidents he has seen involved one friend who hurt his hand from a fallen pipe and another who was uninjured when water used for fracking splashed on him.

In the second incident, emergency crews responded and washed the man down as a precaution, Tippett said.

“They will stop all work if anything happens,” he said of companies operating the fracking sites.

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Mary Schaper is a Digital Communications Manager for the American Petroleum Institute. She previously worked on Capitol Hill for the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee as Digital Director and for Senator Lisa Murkowski. Before coming to D.C., she spearheaded digital strategy for Murkowski's successful Senate write-in campaign in 2010. Schaper enjoys traveling and taking in the local culture alongside her husband, their son and loyal springer spaniel.